Captain Dye's Blog
Saturday, 13 October 2007
Week 9: Monsoons drench Cape Gloucester and Contact Imminen
Soggy reports are arriving from Warriors XO Mike Stokey who indicates the winter monsoons have arrived on Cape Gloucester. When they aren't soaked to their wrinkled skins, PFC Robert Leckie and his mates from BLT 2-1 are up to their hips in cloying mud. Not much trouble with the IJA forces in the area as yet but the weather, jungle terrain and swarming mosquitoes are trouble enough while they struggle to maintain a toehold on New Britain. BLT 2-1 has landed south of the Division's main effort with the mission of cutting the Government Road that would allow the Japanese on Cape Gloucester to rush reinforcements in and flank the landing beaches. In a few days the Japanese forces will make some avid attempts to break through the Marines' defensive positions and the action will heat up significantly. Meanwhile, on Guadalcanal Lieutenant Colonel Lewis B. Puller has his 1st Battalion, 7th Marines stretched razor thin across a series of ridges south of Henderson Field. Over Chesty Puller's strenuous objections, Lieutenant Colonel H.H. Hanneken's 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines has been shifted leaving a potentially disastrous gap in the lines while the Japanese Sendai Division is massing for a big push to retake the airfield. Chesty has no choice but to fan his Marines out and call for reinforcements from the newly arrived U.S. Army's 164th Infantry. In a classic Marine Corps scrounging operation, Puller has sent Manila John Basilone and his other veteran NCOs on a mission to beg, borrow or steal the extra weapons and ammo the battalion will need to hold the line. Platoon Sergeant Basilone will be a key player in holding that long, thin line when the battle for Bloody Ridge begins next week. Despite the Army's overdue arrival in the central Solomon's with bountiful supplies, the Marines are still subsisting on wormy rice captured from Japanese stores and not much else. Last week we had a situation in which a Japanese infiltrator even joined the Marines' chow line and tried to sneak a share of the meager rations. He was caught and nearly killed but Chesty called a halt to proceedings and had the prisoner saved for interrogation. The point was that the Japanese on Guadalcanal are in nearly as poor shape as the Marines are. On Guadalcanal during World War II there were plenty of enemies to face including near starvation and malaria, which steadily whittled away at the 1st Marine Division's combat punch. An interesting note for Marines in this episode will be a sequence in which we see the action that brought Charlie Company 1/7 their famous guideon emblazoned "Suicide Charley, 1st Bn., 7th Marines." We continue the attack. Semper Fidelis.
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 10:15 PM in Category:The Pacific War
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